What do I mean by that?
What if we put our energy into being more curious about our selves, what we do, and how we do it before we jump to judgment?
Many of us feel like the way to be successful, improve, and feel safe from failure, disappointment and hurt is to be perfectionistic or hard on ourselves.
If I asked you to be less critical of yourself does your mind jump to thoughts such as “That’s not a good idea, what if I become lazy and don’t try hard anymore?”
If I invited you to be kinder to yourself and accept who you are today, as you are, would you have a hard time, feel unworthy, or uncomfortable?
Often the following thoughts and beliefs can get in the way of being kinder to our selves and this list is in no way exhaustive:
If you have survived difficult times by being tough with your self it can feel scary to imagine letting go and treating your self with more acceptance, compassion, or, dare I say love.
If you have achieved success by being hard on your self or demanding perfection, then it can feel unwise or risky to walk away from something that has “worked” for you in the past.
Whether being hard on your self has developed out of self-preservation, was a product of the messages you have been given by others, or is a result of other factors please know that we do the best we can given what we know at the time AND there is another way we can move through life toward our goals and dreams that can be more comfortable and enjoyable: Be more curious than judgmental.
When you look back at your life what will you value, what you accomplished or how it felt to be who you are?
Being kind, accepting and compassionate toward your self doesn’t mean ignoring issues or struggles.
In fact, it’s just the opposite.
Would you want to face, accept and share your struggles with a critical and judgmental boss or partner? Probably not! Most of us prefer to be open with someone who is caring and understanding.
“Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
If we don’t have a supportive relationship with ourselves how much do we think we can really accomplish if we are criticizing or doubting ourselves.
If we don’t accept who we are and recognize our inherent worth, then how satisfying and deeply can we really connect with others?
What if you practiced moving from your own worst critic to your own best friend?
If you want to take an honest look at your self and continue growing and developing the areas of life you value, then the first step is to be your own caring and understanding friend, someone safe to admit your struggles to, who will support you as you face the challenging work of being:
I hope you will join me.
Go Friend Your Self!
Ps Please share this article if you think it will help someone else.
Dr. Baker has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She moved over 20 times by the time she was 13. She studied and adapted to her environments and wore many masks to fit in until she learned how to thrive by owning who she was and showing her real self to the world. She hopes to inspire and inform others as they own and embrace who they are. Go friend your self!